FIA summons Michelin teams to Paris

Following the United States Grand Prix the FIA has summoned the seven Michelin teams that did not race to a World Motor Sport Council hearing in Paris on June 29th. McLaren, Renault, Williams, BAR, Toyota, Red Bull and Sauber refused to race at ...

Following the United States Grand Prix the FIA has summoned the seven Michelin teams that did not race to a World Motor Sport Council hearing in Paris on June 29th. McLaren, Renault, Williams, BAR, Toyota, Red Bull and Sauber refused to race at Indianapolis due to safety issues with the Michelin tyres.

The teams and the tyre manufacturer asked the FIA that a chicane be built at Turn 13, the entry to the banking, in order to reduce speeds through that part of the circuit. Toyota's Ralf Schumacher crashed heavily there during Friday practice due to a tyre failure and Michelin could not be sure further failures would not ensue, therefore could not guarantee the drivers' safety.

The FIA refused to allow the chicane, saying it was not fair on the Bridgestone teams, and that the governing body would not change the rules just because a competitor was not properly equipped. Michelin advised its teams not to race, citing safety reasons, and the drivers retired to the pit lane after the formation lap.

Michelin's Frederic Henry-Biabaud told Europe 1 Radio: "Can you imagine what would have happened if, having seen the failure on Friday, we had decided to race the tyre and we had a problem. I prefer, as a company, we find ourselves in this position rather than if there had been an accident."

Henry-Bibaud believed the chicane would have been a "realistic, feasible" compromise but the FIA did not agree. "The Michelin teams seemed unable to understand that this would have been grossly unfair as well as contrary to the rules," the sport's governing body said in a statement.

The Michelin runners offered to compete for no points and allow the Bridegstone runners to start at the front, just so the race could go ahead, if the chicane was in place. "The teams were desperate to race, to put on a show," team boss Frank Williams told Reuters. "Racing in North America is fundamental to Formula One's commercial health."

"We wanted to at least entertain the crowds. We were prepared to race for no points and give them all to Ferrari. I can't stress enough how desperate we were."

BAR already has a suspended sentence due to a weight discrepancy at the San Marino GP, after which it was banned for two races, but the FIA would not be drawn on what the implications might be for the team.

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Ralf Schumacher , Frank Williams
Teams Ferrari , Sauber , McLaren , Williams